Snocross, Penguin Paddle Annual Favorites

By Eva Potter

Whether you’re new to Ellicottville or a regular, you’ll find entertaining winter action for the whole family this month. Get ready to bundle up and head outside, because February is heating up fast.

AMSOIL ISOC U.S. Air Force National Championship Snocross returns to the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino Feb. 5-6 on its eight-race national circuit. The track’s tight quarters offer thrilling bar-to-bar racing action with plenty of side bumping as the 400-pound sleds race shoulder to shoulder at high speeds around the oval, outfitted with plenty of jumps for serious air. More than 200 of North America’s top snocross racers and nearly a dozen from countries worldwide will compete. Purchase tickets now and save $10 at the Logo Shop inside Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino or online at http://snocross.com/national/tickets.

The “Your Turn” Women’s Ski Clinic returns to Holiday Valley Feb. 11-12 with Lisa Densmore at the helm. Densmore, a widely acclaimed coach, instructor and ski racer, along with some of the Valley’s finest women instructors, lead a two-day clinic designed for intermediate to advanced skiers designed to take you to the next level of skiing . Preregistration is advised for this $290 clinic, which includes two days of coaching, demo equipment, breakfast and lunch each day plus dinner on Thursday, as well as specially priced lift tickets. To save your spot, visit www.holidayvalley.com or call (716) 699-2345, ext. 4422 or ext. 4424.

The annual Art Roscoe Loppet cross-country ski race will take over Allegany State Park on Feb. 14. Three different course distances (6K, 13K and 22K) present exciting endurance challenges on set double-track that offers rolling hills and gorgeous views. This event draws skiers from surrounding states, colleges and ski teams to the Summit Ski area in the Red House section of the park. Preregister to guarantee your place when all the action begins and ends. Make sure you stay for lunch and the fun post-race party with great door prizes. Visit www.heartrateup.com.

The Loppet just happens to take place on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re coming for the XC race or skiing at the area’s resorts, why not celebrate romance all weekend long in the village of Ellicottville? Savor a leisurely, delicious meal followed by energetic live entertainment in many of the village’s fine establishments. Then tuck in at a cozy hotel, inn or bed and breakfast.

Make plans to come to the Holiday Valley Tubing Company for “U.S. Army Day” on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Just mention the event and pay half price for an all-night ticket for only $12.50 beginning at 4:30 p.m. WPIG and Holiday Valley teamed up with the U.S. Army to offer this special discount. Look for the WPIG crew and the Big Pig for giveaways. The Tubing Park offers virtually effortless sledding without all the huffing and puffing. Two handle tows and 22 lanes of fun will keep you busy for hours, including a Little Tubers area for the younger set.

The extremely popular annual Penguin Paddle event hits Holiday Valley’s slopes on Feb. 20. The event is the big fundraiser for the Lounsbury Adaptive Program, which promotes enjoyment of the slopes for individuals with a variety of disabilities. Get ready for a memorable, family fun day filled with wonderful auction items, delicious eats, and the seriously funny penguin-style belly race down the bottom of Yodeler slope wearing a garbage bag for slippery fun. Register at Creekside Lodge or at the base of Yodeler for only $1. A complete schedule is posted at www.holidayvalley.com.

Also, on Feb. 20, enjoy Demo Day Revisited at Holiday Valley. Take some awesome skis and snowboards from Rossignol, Nordica, Fisher and several snowboard companies out for a free spin. All you need is a credit card for deposit and parent signature if you are under 18.

Aspire’s “Ski the Valley” day supports innovative services and programming which benefits nearly 3,400 WNY children and adults with disabilities. On Feb. 28 from noon–6 p.m., enjoy discounted lift packages, music, a cool basket raffle and more on the top floor of the Lodge. You’ll find more details at www.aspirewny.org.

If that’s not enough, there’s always a gravity-defying ride on the Holiday Valley Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster and cardio-pumping snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on miles of trails in Allegany State Park, around the Holiday Valley golf course and at the top of the hill at Spruce Lake. For something a little different, you might enjoy a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride or winter trail ride at Crosspatch Ranch. Call (716) 938-6313.